When it comes to slowing down the visible signs of skin aging, we've got options. From serums that plump and firm to injectables that smooth and lift, there are plenty of preventative solutions out there to try. But when it comes to our hair? Not so much.
The biggest sign of hair aging is going gray, and for so long, the only way to treat this pigment change was reactionary—aka dying it back. It was this limitation that inspired the creation of Arey, a brand that touts itself as "the wrinkle cream of hair." Its line of products works to slow the graying process before it happens while also repigmenting hair that's already started to fade. It launched in 2021 with an oral supplement and topical serum, and today, it added a new shampoo and conditioner to its collection to give consumers a full, gray-fighting regimen.
- Jay Small, hairstylist in Los Angeles and co-founder of hair-care brand Arey
As you may know, your hair doesn't go gray all at once. The process happens gradually, and your hair slowly loses melanin (which gives it pigment) as it goes from brown/black/red/blonde to white. When it's somewhere in the middle of this spectrum—about 25 percent gray—it's possible to revive some of its melanin, and that's where Arey's go-to peptide comes in. The powerhouse ingredient slows down the progression of gray hair, and in some cases, can even help re-pigment hair that's already gray by stimulating a melanin receptor in your follicles.
The brand's To The Root topical serum ($55) delivers this peptide directly to your scalp, whereas the new shampoo distributes it to your entire hair shaft. To borrow an analogy from the skin-care world, think of To The Root as your hair's eye cream, aka a spot treatment you can use to target areas where you're already graying or where you expect to start graying based on your genetics (hot tip: you can look at your mom's graying pattern for guidance). The shampoo, on the other hand, is your all-over active serum.
"It's a way for us to get this peptide all over the head where you might not see or feel problems yet," says Jay Small, one of Arey's co-founders. "The shampoo is formulated to be gentle and used every day as a general cleanser, but it also has these clinically effective peptides and this combination of antioxidants, which work on opening this scalp so that this peptide can get to the follicle and actually perpetuate cellular activity."
The Smooth Conditioner ($32) doesn't include peptides "because conditioners don't touch the scalp," says Small. It's instead focused on addressing age-related textural changes. Gray and graying hair often feels brittle and dry because color molecules provide mass inside of a hair strand, so as your hair starts to lose pigment, it's like slowly deflating a balloon. When this happens, the cuticle (a scale-like layer on the outside of your hair) doesn't have much supporting it from the inside, which is what causes the rough texture. So while the peptides in the shampoo work to beef up the hair from the inside, the conditioner ensures the strands get the moisture they need to stay smooth and healthy.
Small says you can use these as your go-to shampoo and conditioner or cycle them into your routine as you see fit. "When the peptides are applied, they're very active and excellent," he says. Just know that results may not be as strong if your use is inconsistent, so be sure to work them in every few washes.
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